TRURO – Xander Collier puts his hands over his head like antlers and makes funny faces as he bounces up and down in a bouncy castle.
© Ryan Cooke - Truro Daily News
Mike Francis, owner of Ryleigh’s Place, named his new business after its inspiration – his three-year-old daughter. After taking her to play at similar places in other towns, Francis decided to open his own.
His mother looks on with a smile.
“This place brings out the crazy side in him,” she said.
Ryleigh’s Place opened on May 17 after months of hard work and over a year of planning. Owner Mike Francis put in the hours, staying late painting and piecing together equipment to build his dream.
“It’s just fun to run an indoor playground,” he said. “That’s the best word I can use to sum it up. Fun.”
After taking his daughter, Ryleigh, to similar places outside of Truro, Francis began thinking about opening his own.
“Why would we drive 45 minutes to give our daughter some place to play?” he said. “So since she was the one who inspired it, we decided to call it Ryleigh’s Place.”
Located next door to Truro Toyota, the indoor funland features a large bouncy castle, several play areas, a kitchen for parents, and a towering jungle gym complete with a slide.
Francis and company will host parties for any groups interested, whether it be a daycare or a private birthday party.
So far, the demand has been outstanding, Francis said.
“It was almost rabid how badly people wanted a place for their kids to go. Everyone comes in and they’re happy. The parents, the kids – it’s phenomenal.”
Francis, who kept his job as an employment counsellor, has one favourite part about owning a playground – playing, of course.
“I love playing with my daughter,” he said. “On days when I’m not working, I love to bring her down here. I even get on the slides and the bouncy castle.”
On this afternoon, dozens of kids run rampant through the place, with smiles and laughter abound.
“Kids love it and it’s a good workout too,” Francis said. “It’s like a fun boot camp for six-year-olds.”